Let the War finally begin: LTE vs. WiMAX

Both AT&T and Verizon are moving forward with their 4G/LTE networks in 30 US cities, with one launching by the end of the year and the other going commercial by mid-2011. And, with the approval of the first LTE phone by the FCC, the door is opening for flood of new LTE devices.

AT&T expects to give its LTE network a good kick by the middle of 2011, and cover between 70 million and 75 million users by the end of the year. The name of the cites will be announced later, but the company is already carrying out trials in Baltimore where their rival Sprint/Clearwire started their WiMAX.

Meanwhile, Sprint announced this week that Nashville was the next city to get its 4G WiMAX coverage, bumping the number of markets covered by Sprint 4G to 52. That list already includes Honolulu, Chicago, Portland, Las Vegas, Boston, and Salt Lake City, among others. (Granted, many of the cities already covered by Sprint are not exactly huge ones like Verizon’s planned rollout, but we’ll take what we can get.) The carrier and its partner Clearwire hope to cover 120 million customers with WiMAX goodness by the end of 2010.

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and telezoo.com that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @ awesomize.me

23 Responses to Let the War finally begin: LTE vs. WiMAX

  1. My money’s on lte. Wimax is looking like a one pony show with Clearwire. Wimax led the race, but it looks like lte is catching up. And there are many more key players in lte. Intel should be exploring how to make Wimax more attractive. Wimax needs some critical discriminating qualities and more marketing. Any ideas?

  2. Elias Shams says:

    I agree. Even Clearwire and Sprint are thinking of going LTE:-) after all the $Billions already invested into their WiMax

  3. Vinod Mehra says:

    Market projections points towards LTE being the clear winner

  4. It’s not looking like much of a fight. WiMAX is endorsed by one major mobile carrier (spint/clearwire) and they have now admitted to considering deployment of LTE. Pretty much every other major mobile carriers has endorsed a road to LTE.

    Where WiMAX is doing well is in the fixed wireless segment but there are concerns here regarding the long term. LTE and HSPA+ could be used for said application and both look like they will command substantially better economies of scale than WiMAX will enjoy.

    Net here is that LTE and HSPA+ won the mobile battle a while ago and they will become a threat to WiMAX in traditional fixed applications and spectrum (3.5 GHz) as well.

  5. Umar Tariq says:

    WiMAX will prosper…

  6. he two Techs coming from the same group ” 3GPP” and Almost both of them has the new feature of Multicarrier Modulation ” OFDM” a lot of work done on the Physical layer on both of them. BUT in my openion, the LTE will dominate in the Area that already implemented the previous mobile systems like GSM, GPRS and 3G as the upgrade to the new successor LTE will be much easier and less in OPEX and CAPEX than the WiMAX.the LTE has a built in Interfaces to be connected easily communicate with the Old mobile systems. Which is not the case in the WiMAX, WiMAX has to be built from scratch as a WiMAX network, you cant upgrdae the HSPA fro example to a WiMAX. and at the end the Operators will choose the easier one to be implemented in their case. another point to be say that some OFDM problems in the WiMAX has been resolved in the LTE. the Power peack to average ratio cuased by the OFDM Tx has been resolved by developing a new modulation technique named SC-FDMA which will save a lot of the Mobile Equipement battery.and as an overall capacity and Flexibility the LTE can reach 326 Mbps in the uplink and 86Mbps in the downlink. with functional at mobile speed from 120 to 350 km/h.

  7. WiMAX vs. LTE need not be a war; rather, each service provider needs to develop a detailed understanding of the tradeoffs of one technology vs. the other.

    Developing a comprehensive mathematical model that simulates these technologies and their transition is a fool proof way of finding out which is better for each service provider.

    Wireless 20/20 has developed over 45 national business cases using the WiROI – Wireless ROI Tool. The new version of the WiROI 4.0 Tool enables service providers to compare WiMAX and LTE side by side or to build transitional business cases for their specific market. Here is a link for the WiROI 4.0 Tool. http://news.yahoo.com/s/prweb/20100920/bs_prweb/prweb4533104_1

  8. LTE will be deployed to replace current mobile cellular system as 4G mobile Technology, while WiMAX will be mainly focusing rural broadband penetration where currently DSL or other wired Broadband connectivity is not availaible. The biggest advantage LTE has, is backing from Multi GSM Equipment Vendors and also commitment of deployment from Cellular operators.

  9. It wil be similiar to the CDMA vs GSM war in the past. This time WiMAX is CDMA and GSM will be LTE.. as in market share 10 years from now.

  10. Anmin Sun says:

    WiMax will migrate to TDD-LTE, it’s samiliarr system somehow. And when you think about all the radio HW could be reused and just change the baseband, then change WiMax to TDD-LTE not a big challenge.

  11. It is too ealry to say as it is war between these two technologies; as the saying goes “survival of the fittest”, here too it is no exception. Only time will gives its due status in the technology race.

    Ravi

  12. Anthony Reid says:

    The critical thing is that worldwide GSM Carriers are larger in number than WiMax operators thus why would they retrofit WiMax ? they can easliy add LTE and they will.
    The usual issues of devices occurs again but this reinvigorates the customer base and allows for revenue growth
    In short LTE has already won !

  13. Mazlan Abbas says:

    believed in WRC 2011 next week, both WiMAX and LTE will be selected as the candidate for 4G.

  14. Ahmad Samara says:

    Vendors who freezed WiMAX investment, Vendors who quit from WiMAX market. and Vendors who moved most of the R&D guys to LTE team. This gives you an indication the interest and the future is for LTE.

  15. It’s not always the technology who wins.
    I am concerned about the world economic crisis, eroding ARPU, explosion of video content and bottlenecks in the networks, ongoing huge investments in other stuff (like FTTH) by some of the big operators who are supposed to launch LTE, and as I see, luck of inovation business models of these same operators.

  16. Mazlan Abbas says:

    Actually when vendors moved most of their R&D guys to LTE team is because WiMAX is no longer an R&D activity (matured enough to be commercialize).
    But again, its true, its not always the technology game.
    Incumbents will migrate to LTE because that’s their natural path. But, there are still other countries who have yet to implement 3G and for some who have 3G still have problem trying to recoup back their investment.
    What makes the operator thinks, LTE will have a faster ROI?

  17. FunkySantaClause says:

    So…. MetroPCS Launches First 4G LTE Services in the United States…!!

    Funny part is that Nokia Siemens Networks is behind that..=)

  18. Ahmad Samara says:

    Although I am not satisfied with the level of its maturity, but if WiMAX is seen with more interest from top vendors, R&D is needed for the upcoming versions such 16m which could be candidate for 4G.

  19. Adnan Hamed says:

    I wrote a short write-up in my blog – you can access it from my linkedin profile. Its my opinion but do let me know if you agree or disagree. thanks

  20. Mazlan Abbas says:

    You might be right Samara, with respect to 802.16m, there is still a lot of development side need to do. Same goes with LTE-Advanced.
    WiMAX is slow to grow due to the players are new in the Market. They are not the incumbent players. If they are, most probably they are the ISPs. But mainly ISPs are used to play in the fixed business and not in the mobile business.

  21. It depends on the business requirements of the communities, there is a huge market for wimax infrastructure to be deployed independently in small towns, educational institutes etc.

  22. Mazlan Abbas says:

    But for an LTE operator, they will re-use their existing towers or other infrastructures.

  23. Bo Camera says:

    This is great information, thanks’ for share!

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